A week in education
The Scottish Government has announced a pound;6.5 million package to help young people into work. However, one of the key ingredients, an increase in modern apprenticeships, has been attacked by Barnardo's Scotland as "one of the least effective ways to reach disadvantaged young people", because many of them need support which is not always available. There is to be a pound;1,000 incentive for up to 2,000 employers to offer apprenticeships. The package also includes: 800 vocational pathway opportunities; 60 entrepreneurial training openings; 750 graduate placements; 1,000 volunteering places; and access to an additional 5,000 all-age modern apprenticeships (which has already been announced).
More than a dozen pupils have been recruited by the Scottish Government as curriculum consultants, giving them a chance to shape Curriculum for Excellence. The group of 16 pupils from P7 and S2 were involved in a series of workshops this month and will be consulted again in the autumn. Education Secretary Michael Russell said the move was evidence the Government was committed to giving pupils "a real say" in developing the new curriculum.
The Crichton Campus in Dumfries - threatened with closure in 2007 - is expected to boost economic activity in the area by more than pound;300 million per year, a conference there heard earlier this week. The campus, which educates around 1,000 higher education students and approximately 7,500 college learners, was saved in February 2007, when the Scottish Government provided a pound;1.5 million lifeline after Glasgow University announced it had decided not to admit any new under-graduate students. The university is one of the partners in Scotland's first "multi-institutional campus," along with the University of the West of Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway College.
Deep cuts to instrumental music tuition would do "untold damage" to pupils' education, the new president of the Educational Institute of Scotland told a rally in Fife on Saturday. Kay Barnett warned the cuts planned in Fife - and other areas, including Midlothian - were short- sighted and would deny pupils skills central to Curriculum for Excellence. "We need to ensure that all our young people, no matter what part of Scotland they live in, can continue to enjoy the right to access high- quality, professional music instruction in our schools," she declared.
Trade unions held a series of events across the UK on Monday in a bid to defend further and higher education from budget cuts. The Educational Institute of Scotland played its part by encouraging the public in Edinburgh to add their signatures to a national petition against the cuts. Commenting on the joint United for Education campaign, EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: "Education is vital to the future prosperity of our country, so we must do all that we can to stand up for our education system and fight these damaging and short-sighted cuts."